Power-chord driven guitar rock will always be refreshing — especially in the current musical moment, which has mostly left it behind for distortion, shoegaze and elaborate production. Sam Coffey and the Iron Lungs evoke images of beer-stained floors and raucous mosh pits on their self-titled release. The percussion is relatively simple, keeping things moving, as are the lyrics: "Judy," for example, is the story of a girl who "wants to rock and roll," but her "parents don't know."
Sam Coffey's vocals are heavy, raspy and energetic, perfect for the several anthemic choruses here, and while the guitar leads push things along and make for some great hooks, the songs frequently leave room for some nice solos. The album clocks in around 38 minutes, a tightness made more impressive by the inclusion of a trilogy of interrelated songs — "Ragnarok," "Teenage Release" and "PhD."
While the band's range isn't exactly huge, the band show the right amount of ambition here, never taking themselves too seriously and ensuring that the album remains fun throughout. That said, though they aim for Meatloaf or Thin Lizzy, Sam Coffey and the Iron Lungs fall in better with more recent throwback rock groups — Bang Camaro and Wu Lyf come to mind — than the iconic bands themselves.
Give them time, though. For now, Sam Coffey and the Iron Lungs is a perfect backing to a solid night out with a close gang of pals. Why think of the future beyond that? (Dine Alone)